1 Corinthians 15:1-34
This is such a long chapter that I am actually breaking it into 2 days to keep the post from being way too long.
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
Despite all the problems that the Corinthians did have they had received the gospel, they were saved by the gospel, they just needed to hold fast to it and allow it to change them. In verses 3 – 9 Paul is reiterating what they already know and what has been preached to them. Christ died for our sins and that was in accordance with scriptures, he was buried and raised on the 3d day, He appeared to the apostles. He then appeared to more than 500 people at one time. That He appeared to Paul and changed him. Paul also goes on to call himself “the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle” because of his persecution of the church.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Paul is telling them that he works harder than the others, but he’s not telling them so he can boast about how hard he works but that he can point to the grace that God gave him which is what makes him work harder. What Paul is saying here is that the grace that was given to him by God compels him to work harder. When you know grace, really know it, you can’t help but want to work for Him.
The next section, (verses 12 – 19) Paul is explaining to the Corinthians about the resurrection of the dead. It seems that the Corinthians had no trouble believing that Christ had been raised from the dead, but that they, (we) would be resurrected from the dead as well. Paul is telling them if you believe Christ has been raised then you have to believe we will be raised. And if Christ has not been raised then what are we basing our hope on.
“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
The whole of the Christian faith rests on Christ’s resurrection. Paul is making that point to the Corinthians. He wants them to realize that what he is preaching to them is the hope beyond today and even beyond tomorrow. All rests on Christ’s resurrection and the fact that our hope beyond the here and now is our resurrection to be with Him one day in glory. You have to really read this section as Paul is talking to them with the sarcasm he can seem to lean to with them.
Paul goes on to reiterate to them that Christ was raised from the dead and he was in fact the first to actually be resurrected. Paul also points out that sin came through the first man, Adam. Adam brought sin into the world which brought death into the world. So also Christ, through his resurrection, brings life to us. Christ was first, He is the “firstfruit” then we will be resurrected. An interesting thing I found in studying the word “firstfruit” in the Greek was translated apache. This word is, yes for the offering of first fruit, but it was also used for the term “entrance fee”. Paul may have used this term with the Corinthians partially because Jesus was raised on the day of the Feast of Firstfruit, which was observed on the day after the Sabbath following Passover but also because Jesus paid our “entrance fee” into heaven.
Now also when I first read that I thought of the people that Jesus raised from the dead during his earthly ministry. So I did some digging, and what was pointed out was that those people were resuscitated from the dead for an earthly time only to die again in this earthly realm. When Jesus was resurrected He was raised from the dead to live again for eternity. Which is what will happen to us when we are resurrected to be with Him in all eternity.
Paul points out in the following verses some of the practices that were going on around the Corinthian Christians that also give credence to his point. A pagan practice of that day was when someone would be baptized on behalf of someone who had already died. Paul is pointing out to the Corinthians who were getting skewed in their thinking about resurrection that if resurrection were not real why would the pagans even be doing this baptism. Apparently the pagans believed at least in the resurrection. Paul also goes on to point out to them that they need to be careful who they are listening to and learning from.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)
“For Christians to resist God’s process of transformation by the renewing of our minds is to neglect the knowledge of God. To remain willfully ignorant of the truth is sin.” ~ David Guzik
I thought that sentence was too good in commentary not to use it in its full context.
Lord Jesus let us not “remain willfully ignorant of truth. But please give us minds to understand and hearts to believe.
Please pray for our President and government leaders today.